'It is more important than ever before to show kindness to those who need it most'

Police officers in Ashington have been working closely with refugees to help them settle into their new life in Northumberland.

By Andrew Coulson
Friday, 11th March 2022, 3:20 pm
Members of the public can meet officers during the open weekend at Ashington Police Station.
Members of the public can meet officers during the open weekend at Ashington Police Station.

And with the conflict in Ukraine putting the issue in the spotlight, the doors to the local station will be thrown open this weekend to all members of the public who wish to meet officers and learn how they can support refugees and keep their community thriving.

The area is currently home to almost 200 refugees from various parts of the world and it is part of Neighbourhood Sergeant Kath Smith’s role to make sure displaced families feel welcomed to the community and confident they can always rely on officers for help.

Sgt Smith and her team make regular visits to families and collect on-going donations to help people feel settled and, more importantly, feel valued.

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She said: “These families have experienced some of the very worst situations imaginable, often coming from war-torn countries. The North East truly is a sanctuary to them.

“They bring with them knowledge, experience and a variety of skills – some are teachers, others are medical professionals – but they’re unable to complete paid work while they wait for visas.

“Luckily, they have come to the North East, a place that is renowned for being home to some of the nation’s friendliest faces, and there is kindness and good will in abundance.

“With the world’s eyes on Ukraine currently, it is more important than ever before to show kindness to those who need it most.

“Our open weekend is a good chance for locals to come along and meet officers, raise concerns about anything in the community and learn about all the things we’re doing to make Ashington a thriving place to live for everyone who calls it home – whether it’s been home for two months or 60 years.”

The Ashington Neighbourhood Team set-up a tuck shop in February 2020 at the police station and proceeds from the shop, which helps feed many a hungry officer on duty, have been spent aiding the area’s displaced families.

So far, money has been used to buy phones for refugees to help them feel safe and less isolated.

The open weekend runs tomorrow (Saturday) and Sunday at Ashington Police Station from 10am to 3pm each day.